Thursday, September 29, 2016

Happy National Coffee Day (2016)

"Java & Keats"  Original Photo Manipulation Art

I love coffee.  Of course, I drink it every day.  Every.Single.Day.  Yet, I wasn't ever quite fully aware of just how much of a mainstay that coffee (just as poetry) is in my life.  I think I incorporate coffee into my artwork almost as often as I do with my writing.

I wrote the following poem for the weekly Poetry Pantry.  

However, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I've also included some additional photos and links.  So pour yourself a cup and enjoy! 

"Another Cup of Java"

I'm a mid-morning
of last night's dreams
and Arabic black bean.

You are conversing
with napkins, keeping plight
with the wrinkly-edged leaves
of Fall's new tablecloth.

Everyone's speaking
but I'm too busy
drinking (coffee).

-Stacy Lynn Mar-

The java has
Turned my brain
Into skittish text,

"I"m a slow motion accident lost in coffee-

rings and finger-prints..."

-Frou Frou-

She’s a 6am fray of fleece slippers, unraveling.  She wears coffee-stains on the left shoulder of her shirt like a metaphorical holster.  Coffee-black and pen poised, words have been haunting her all night.  Syllable by rank, impulsive syllable and thrashed from slumber, they summon her to the click-click of her pen-drip no matter a Wednesday or Sunday. 

A Mocha Iced For Everyday

She always had an appetite for coffee, house blend was her favorite.  A morning cup meant bliss, but, really she'd drink it all day long.  She would enter every cafe she passed, flamboyantly flashing her silver rings and the jangly doo-dads of her bracelets.  She loved the sound of the percolator, a whistling teapot, liquid creamer dripping.

The ice-clink of her coffee calls for drink as she bends her head, a silent prayer to Kerouac and Ginsberg. 

She sits center-seat,
Mess of café-talk and words;
World outside the world.

“I don't know where my ideas come from. I will admit, however, that one key ingredient is caffeine. I get a couple cups of coffee into me and weird things just start to happen.” 
― Gary Larson

She walks slowly,
Feet a leisurely echo
Amidst the earthquake shuffle
Of a morning commute,
She wears her raincoat
Like the robe of Christ,
Coffee stains dangling
Toward her fingers,
early winter wind whipping
A knitted scarf across her face,
Tickling her throat like
The bitter taste of chocolate.

It's already getting chilly here in Kentucky.  Not complaining, though, I love me some Fall weather!

She spills the coffee of herself
All over the room
Like a stubborn stain.

I am sun-bleached book covers,
Blank journal pages and
Colorful magazine clippings
Glued across a notebook at random.
I am insatiable of words and sugar,
Oatmeal and black coffee,

...have consumed my share
Of cappuccinos in village
Coffee shops, dazzled by
The dance of book dust
Amidst candlelight and
Starched linen in fine restaurants
Before driving the evening
Through a fading post-storm twilight...

Inside this room, it’s always evening,
there’s always coffee
On the stove, familiar as old lips.

Night feels like a wet beach towel
Across the back patio, umbrella swimming
The atmosphere like a ghost coming home,
My house smelling of coffee,
Microwave-roasted, and still sublime.
The cinnamon and brown-sugar of a
Sweet roll, my gift offering
To the God of my empty pages.

She bought imported coffee
Stored in fancy porcelain pots
For the unused cupboards,
Filled her desk drawer
With empty notebooks,
Their covers adorned of sheepskin,
And lit candles along the
Edge of a corner stand,
A constellation all her own.

Chestnuts and yogurt
With a side of black coffee,
Street-lights and high-rise windows
Winking like stranded supernovas,

And the coffee-stained pages
We exchange as if sharing secrets:

Coffee, brown mother
Of my daydreams,
She keeps me from my sleep.

My heart full of beach-glow.
I fed it with coffee and cake,
A wormhole void of sacred touch,
Until one day it left me

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Monarch and the PussyCat

Little Robin Redbreast 
    Sat upon a tree; 
Up went Pussy-cat, 
    Down went he. 

Down came Pussy-cat, 
    And away Robin ran; 
Says little Robin Redbreast 
    “Catch me if you can.” 

Little Robin Redbreast 
    Hopped upon a wall; 
Pussy-cat jumped after him, 
    And almost got a fall. 

Little Robin chirped and sang, 
    And what did Pussy say? 
Pussy-cat said “Mew,” 
    and Robin flew away.

Created for a challenge at Three Muses.
Also created for a challenge at Erica's Texture Challenge.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Juxtaposition of City Buildings

I always wanted
to leave the city,
funny the peculiar
rearrangement of window-eyes
once the bus arrives,
full as the old blood
of a stumped toe
that blow the dreams
of leaving out the window.
Funny the ways of
heart and thought
when you've got but one
last withering reason to remain
in a shadowed montage
of city buildings and
late-evening shades of gray;
how the fading light off
window-panes and the
blue-tailed rainbow of
birds wings hold fast to
your string of flight,
a still-photo you fear
you may regret not
to remember.

I was inspired by the prompt over at dVerse.  Looking at all the re-arrangement of things made me think of city each city can be distinct, yet held together by a skyline of tall and small buildings all strung together in steady rows like anchored lights.

I always complain that I'll leave the city, but I never do.  I think I'd miss the buildings, old friends.  It's a nostalgic type of forlorn feeling to drive past, wondering if you'll ever wave out the same windows again.

Ode to a Country Backroad (A Found Poem)

The highway took me
through a pillared
antebellum mansion
with a long valley of pastures,
fields edged by rocky bluffs
the color of muskmellon.

In the distance rose old mountains,
a shallow inland sea came
out of the hills, their colors
changed from vertagreen to
bluegrass glinting with
fragments of glass like tombstones.

The porches hung like a
cold drizzle as the mountain clouds
smudged the afternoon to dusk.
From the gloom came
a fiddler on the radio.

I created this 'found poem' with the prolific words of William Least Heat Moon as they were written in his best-seller Blue Highways.

I found my beat-up first edition of this book at a library sale earlier this summer.  His words carried me, tail-end passer-by of his long-ago journey, and allowed me the incentive of a first-hand armchair traveller.  I like to compare it to the likes of Jack Kerouac's On The Road and it's a read I highly recommend.

First published in 1982, William Least Heat-Moon's account of his journey along the back roads of the United States (marked with the color blue on old highway maps) has become something of a classic. When he loses his job and his wife on the same cold February day, he is struck by inspiration: "A man who couldn't make things go right could at least go. He could quit trying to get out of the way of life. Chuck routine. Live the real jeopardy of circumstance. It was a question of dignity."

Driving cross-country in a van named Ghost Dancing, Heat-Moon (the name the Sioux give to the moon of midsummer nights) meets up with all manner of folk, from a man in Grayville, Illinois, "whose cap told me what fertilizer he used" to Scott Chisholm, "a Canadian citizen ... [who] had lived in this country longer than in Canada and liked the United States but wouldn't admit it for fear of having to pay off bets he made years earlier when he first 'came over' that the U.S. is a place no Canadian could ever love." Accompanied by his photographs, Heat-Moon's literary portraits of ordinary Americans should not be merely read, but savored. Review

written and shared at the Tuesday Platform with Toads.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Getting Reaquainted

Wow...where to begin.

I was forced to relocate (unexpectedly) in May.  I enjoyed my little loft apartment, it was quaint and homely and I'd actually become accustomed to a smaller dwelling place, but when my old landlord left and some new (and rather unpleasant) people took over the lease of the building, my welcoming, comfy home became too uncomfortable to bear any longer.  To make a long story short, my landlords seemed to have alcoholic issues and they were either 1) amnesiacs or 2) blatant liars.  In addition to moving without prior notice due to harassment (people knocking on the door relentlessly, dogs barking at all hours,  music banging all through the night, etc.), I also had $650 stolen from me by these people.  

But, alas, we did find a  very comfy little townhouse right at the edge of the city.  I live right down the corner from this little thrift shop, the library, and a cute little cafe as well as an antique market and another vintage wares shop.  If they weren't so darn unpleasant, I would almost say the terrible crooks at the old apartment did me a favor because I'm much happier here!  I also have great neighbors and an amazingly sweet landlord (she's in her late 70's and is a true sweetheart).

But on to the reason for my long absence.  I actually lost access to my gmail...which means I lost access to my complete blogger and all my blogs.  I tried in vain to get the 2-way telephone verification off my email for literally months until an old friend helped me out yesterday (thank God for small miracles and at least one true friend).  But the inability to access even my email (much less my blogs) greatly diminished my work on my small, independent nonprofit Pink.Girl.Ink. (which I'm working to rectify at the moment) and I truly have missed the art and poetry blogs I enjoy visiting (and the comments of kind, like-minded individuals who visit me as well).  I also was unable to partake in the weekly art and poetry challenges I so love.  

Despite these setbacks, my time away has not been a total waste.  I've done quite a bit of soul-searching (and like to think I've figured a few things out).  I've read nearly 30 books since May (no joke!), and have made a vast collection of digital photoshop elements I plan to share (for free) with my fellow digital art enthusiasts.  Perhaps my most remarkable read was by Sara Ban Breathnach.  Her book Something More was a riveting wake-up call to my own soul.  Through her inspirational words and stories, she calls each woman to question her own life story, her own desires and disappointments so that she might, as an individual person answering only for herself, find her true plight towards happiness.

Some great truths I've resurrected during my reading of this book were:

1.  I'm no longer interested in the helping profession.  I don't care how many degrees and certifications I have earned in the vocation of counseling, social work, and human simply no longer serves my soul and I don't wish to work in this area any longer.  Not only are jobs in this field vast and far between but they pay next to nothing and it's a thankless field of work (for the most part).  

If I had majored in what truly interested me in college, I would have went English Lit and Art History all the way, but the advisors were always so quick (with their statistical analysis charts and course directories) to steer the 'creatives' away from their true passions and toward something more 'practical.'  Well, call me impractical if you want, but for the next era of my life I intend to dive totally into the world of  Literature.  I will delve into the arts of my own, true interests and resurface as some other woman, the woman I've wanted to be.

2.  I enjoy being a 'housewife' or 'stay-at-home mom.' No, it does not mean my life is empty...or that I'm lazy...or that I'm ignorant or lack ambition.  Quite to the contrary!  Do you know how long it takes to actually cook a meal from scratch...add in the dishwashing time.  Oh, and the homeschooling of my daughter and the huge responsibility of lesson plans.  Wait, let's add to that the huge majority of housecleaning and all the menial labor it takes to take care of a 10 year old special needs child 24/7 as well as look out for elderly parents.  Nope, lazy isn't a vocabulary word that will ever describe my exhaustion.  But you know what?  I enjoy my time.  I love being my daughters primary teacher/caregiver.  And I am enamoured with the freedom of choosing my own schedule and pursuing my own interests and talents rather than allowing some job title or a lousy paycheck to define and enslave me.  

Seriously, if you are a working woman (and/or mom) and you can stand a little cut in pay (and some of the extravagances like brand spanking new vehicles and name-brand everything)...let those frivolities go and stay home.  Stay home for yourself so you can figure out who you are without all these responsibilities and debts dragging you down by the ankles.

I love my life at home.  It's a life rich in literature, art, storybooks and novels and poetry and great movies and classic film.  It's a life rich in home-cooked meals and tons of arts-and-crafts with my daughter.  It's a life full of scrapbook-worthy memories, scented candles, good books, and lots of love.    I learn something everyday and take online courses.  I have met some fantastic creative women via my independent nonprofit press.  Oh,  and I get to breathe.    The payoff is worth it for me.  There's some things you just can't measure in money.

3.  It doesn't pay to unplug.  There you go, I just ate my own words.  Yes, me, who complains about how everything in life is conducted via internet and email and blah blah blah and how terrible the lack of face-to-face interaction.  Well, after four months being away from most online interaction, my mind has changed.  These days if you unplug, you disconnect.....truly disconnect, not just as in wires, but socially as well.  Now days there's an app for everything.  Shopping, restaurants, photos, etc.  And unplugging doesn't make life easier or more worthwhile, it actually makes it heaps harder.  Seriously...I found an app where I can order photo prints, straight from my tablet to my mailbox without ever moving from my chair.  

You know what you can do online these days that you can't in person?  You can talk to friends from across the world.  You can foster friendships with like-minded people while sitting a whole continent (or oceans-length) away.  You can go to school, play games, shop, learn a new hobby, write and publish a book....all while sitting at your desk!

And while I agree I'd rather see my friends face to face than from a chat box...I'd rather have the chat box than nothing!  I 'unplugged' for several months due to my move and I lost out on all the small 'online' things I usually take for granted:  instagram, deviant art, flickr, chatting with friends from afar, the ease of looking up random how-to's via google, and so on.  Seems that we are a technologically-dependent society these days.  If you want to keep up, keep the 'online' open!

Honestly, I think the truth of the matter is, I'm getting older and at this point in my life I'm largely steered towards doing the things that serve me.  Too many people spend a majority of their lives (particularly women) serving others while neglecting themselves and their own interests and talents and dreams.  And it's unfair.  Also, some people get fooled by greed.  If they can get the next best thing or just a little more money or a bigger house, they think that THEN life will be great...but it never is.  Things don't make life great.  Purposeful activities and passionate interests and love and kindness and generosity and creativity are the things which make life great...not money, not monetary gain, not even popularity or fame.  Happiness is an inside thing!  Also, pay close attention to the 'little things.'  You may realize that the 'little things' matter more than anything.

So, I suppose my plight is one of authenticity.  I want to figure out who I am as me, and what makes me happy.  The helping profession doesn't, obviously.  Neither does greed.  For now I'm happy just to sit on this question as I continue to read and write and create.  I'm not sure where, exactly, life (and my interests) will take me at this point but I'm eager to sit back and relax and just enjoy the ride.  And I believe that's how life is meant to be lived.

As for this blog....those few months were a mere momentary pause.  I'm back!